Words of Affirmation is one of Joel’s main love languages and something I’ve been learning a lot about! We both really love to encourage others and build people up.
But one of the valuable lessons I’ve learned about myself, Joel, marriage, love, and life came from understanding the concept of words of affirmation.
I love to say thank you, I love you, and all those other great affirming things to Joel. But I realized that I was also unintentionally doing exactly the opposite. If we were discussing a problem I was struggling with and I didn’t like Joel’s advice on it, I’d often just interrupt and tell him why his idea wouldn’t work before proceeding to continue to rant on my own. It sounds terrible when you put all this into words, but that’s real life sin in our lives.
I’ve been slowly learning how to balance my impulsive speech with Joel’s quieter way of conversation in a way that builds us both up. I had no idea how my carelessly spoken words were affecting Joel. Words seem so harmless and unimportant sometimes, but they are exactly the opposite.
This concept goes beyond just marriage, by the way. It affects every relationship you have – from work to children and friendship.
Going way back, one of my very first jobs as a dental hygienist was for a dentist who said, “If I don’t say anything to you, you can assume you’re doing fine.”
Okay…that kind of makes sense. But as a brand new hygienist without experience in the “real” dental world and whose confidence was very, very easily shaken…this become very difficult. I felt like the only feedback I ever got was negative, no matter how hard I tried. It was easy to lose sight of the 10 things you did right because all you were recognized for was the 1 thing you did wrong. As a huge, huge people pleaser, I often drove home from work crying because I felt like a miserable failure.
So obviously there are so many things you could say on my attitude and things like that, but it was a huge lesson learned about the power of words of affirmation.
We believe in truth and honesty. Sometimes there are “negative” things that need to be said for the good of that person you love. That’s a whole other topic for another time.
But this week, really pay attention to how you interact with your spouse. Are you willing to encourage, to listen, to acknowledge, and to build up? Or do you less the stress of life allow negativity to be directed at your spouse?
Encourage and build up each other up. Let them know how amazing they are and how much you appreciate them and what they do.
Here’s to building strong marriages!
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